Element raises $30 million for Matrix development

Element, which makes an open source chat app based on Matrix, has raised $30 million to further develop the chat protocol and expand the app. It will use the money to develop decentralized VoIP and video tools.

With the money, Element will, among other things, finish P2P Matrix, develop native decentralized E2EE voip and video conferencing for Matrix and chat app Element and expand the decentralized reputation system for abuse in Matrix. In addition, with the money, Element can grow as a company.

The money will come from investors at Protocol Labs and Metaplanet, led by Jaan Tallinn, the co-founder of Skype and Kazaa. Matrix will work more closely with Protocol Labs and in particular with IPFS, including on peer-to-peer technologies. Element emphasizes that there are no plans for cryptocurrency integrations in Matrix or Element.

Matrix is ​​a protocol for decentralized chats protected with end-to-end encryption. The protocol is managed by a foundation and developed by the start-up Element who also makes the chat app Element. While many users can host a Matrix client themselves, Element is the most common app that uses the protocol.

The chat app is not the only implementation of the protocol, it can also be used for microblogging, VR or ultra-low-bandwidth communication with Internet of Things devices. The protocol is used by the French and American governments for communication, among others, and by various German government services.

Over the past six months, Element has seen Matrix usage “explode,” founder Amandine Le Pape said in a blog post. This was partly due to bridges for Slack and Teams, and integration in Telegram and Discord. Element Home is also a popular product among users with a home server. In addition, open-source conference Fosdem used the chat app during the first virtual edition of the event. Le Pape thinks the changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy have also contributed to the app’s popularity.

It could already be financially self-sufficient if it wants to, the company says, but it puts a lot of money into Matrix development and hosting. That is why this financing round is very welcome for the start-up. In addition, it enables the foundation and the company to hire more people to further develop the protocol and the app.